TENDE TO VINTIMIGLIA – DAY 1
From Nice to Tende – and then to Col de Tende… and a bit longer
Going by train from Nice to Tende early in the morning, we arrived a bit early an had to wait an hour for the train, we had a cafe latte and some Pain au chocolat in the erly sunlight in front of the trainstation
The train arrives and we hang our bikes on the bike racks, the french are god at taking care of the bikes… we like!
The train ride takes about 2 hours to reach Tende, and in that time it ascends 7-800hm and passes through some amazing scenery and cute villages.
Arriving in Tende at 11:30 we head out to find food and gas to the stove, (you can’t bring gas onto the plane!) weel it’s quite impossible to finde the right gas for our stove as the french use their own standard for gascans, we do find the local Casino and buy a lot of food and snacks and water, we pack our backpacks with all the stuff we bought and head out into the sunshine, its nice and warm, but the packs are heavy and we have to ascend around 1000hm and 20k before evening.
Coffee and pain chocolat while waiting for the train in Nice… photobombed by big people
The railroad winds it’s way up thru the mountains
ARRIVING AT TENDE
We ride thru the old part of Tende to the road that leads up the mountain, we are going the long Way around to get to Col du Tende, its way better than the direct way, we make a lunch stop after 30min, the sun is shining and it’s very warm, very nice, but we have to drink a lot of water!
The Road keeps going up and ud. At a stream we climb down some rocks and refill our water bags with clear mountain water, it’s super cold and fresh.
The center of tende, we do some shopping before heading up
HARD CLIMB, COFFE AND FOG
Is there no end to the road? We have to digg deep to keep going, but we end up having to get of the bikes and walk, its getting cloudy and misty as we ascend higher up the mountain and as we pass the treeline its getti’n cold as well, the fog is thick and there is maybe 50m of visibility.
At a cool vantagepoint we decide it’s coffe time and Martin try to make a small fire in the IKEA stove, but the humidity is very high and we cant make the fire burn, allthough we try for ½ an hour it just won’t burn
Riding in the sunshine
Up & up, have to walk a bit
the fog is rolling in over the top
Perfect spot for a cup of coffe
Fog an bikes
Food in the backpack
The trail continues to wind its way around the crest, up and down. In the dense mist we ride in the deep silence, it is a bit eery, and only once in awhile we get a glimpse of the mountains and the impressive views. There are even patches of snow up here, but not too much!
At a closed Chalet we stop to have some water from the nearby stream, there are some marmot’s around, they don’t seem that afraid of us… yet.
it is still misty and a bit cold, we are the only ones up here.
Later on we pass a small fortress, Fort Pernante. witch is a “outpost” from Fort Centrale.
After a short climb we arrive at the main fortress “Fort Centrale”. the fog is very thick and we can only see maybe 20m ahead, then all off a sudden the Fort appears out of the fog – right in front of us, it is breathtakingly beautiful and again eery quiet. We ride around and consider to make camp inside the ruins, but decide to press on a little further, I totally lose my bearings in the fog and i’m certain that we are heading the wrong way, but luckily Martin has been here before and knows the right way…
A marmot by the stream
The Fort apperars out of the dense fog
Could we sleep here?
SNOW, ICE AND CAMPSITE
We pass the border into Italy and head for the other small “outpost” Fort Pepin, we actually have to climb over snow and ice that covers the trail, it is a bit scary as we can’t see anything in the fog! the camp is set in a small hollow just next to the Fort, i forget to change into dry clothes and end up shivering uncontrollable! i climb into the sleepingbag and Martin made Knorr Carbonara on the now worrking stove and saves the day, i stay in the tent while Martin is outside taking pictures of the sun setting over the mountains.
We were not expecting snow and ice!
The snow was very slippery
Trying to get warm again, while Martin is cooking dinner